AT the beginning of July, Ledbury Strömstad Twinning Association played host to visitors from Strömstad to celebrate twenty years of Twinning on this side of the North Sea.

Three weeks later it was Strömstad’s turn. Members from the Twinning Association visited, partly for the celebrations and also to support Ledbury Swift’s Under 18 Girls Team. This was the first visit for almost three years and it was lovely to be able to return.

The main celebration took place at Strömstad Culture House, the Skagerack. It was a wonderful occasion attended by many of those from Strömstad who had been involved over the years since the signing of the agreement between our two towns.

Nina and Bosse Markendahl provided musical entertainment. They played at the Midsummer Celebration and at other events over the years in Ledbury. The evening was compered by Ninni Qvicklund from the Strömstiernaskolan (High School in Strömstad) who has visited Ledbury with students several times and Jon Lindell from Tontamjarna Choir. John’s Choir has also visited Ledbury.

Speeches were made by a number of the attendees, all who highlighted the value of the Twinning to both towns and the friendliness and welcome they had experienced during visits to Ledbury. A number highlighted their memories of the late Andy Ward, former manager of the Talbot Hotel and home to ‘Little Strömstad’. Andy was one of the original pioneers of the Twinning in Ledbury and a great supporter of these links which focus on special interest groups and youth.

Caroline Alexander, Chair of the Twinning Association in Ledbury, presented a picture, painted by Caroline Green of Take 4 Gallery in Ledbury, of the Talbot Hotel, to Ronnie Brorsson, Chair of Council and Kent Hansson, Chair of Executive Board at Strömstad Kommun.

The Swifts played in two matches, one against a team from Norway, which they lost 3.0 and the other, a closely fought match against the local IFK Strömstad team which was a 2.0 draw. The evening was followed by a buffet, arranged by the Swifts coaches and parents and enjoyed by both teams and supporters.

As ever the Swifts were a credit to their Club and the Town of Ledbury, always demonstrating their motto Vänskap Genom Sport’ ‘Friendship through Sport’. Over the years the Swifts have been one of the most sustained links with Strömstad and many longstanding friendships have been made.

During their visit the Swifts enjoyed a boat trip to Norway, arranged by Strömstad Kommun and Anders Olsson and Anette Anderson from Kustavent, frequent visitors to Ledbury.

The weekend was very special in the history of our twinning, many memories were celebrated and new plans for the future generated. Here’s to the next 20 years.